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Perhaps the most beautiful of flowering tropical trees, certainly attractive enough to earn the sobriquet Queen of Flowering Trees. Obscure origins add to the mystique of this noble petite tree. It has only been collected from the wild a couple of times, in the forests of Burma, leading to its common name Pride of Burma. The tree has compound leaves and a great profusion of large, irregular, yellow-spotted scarlet flowers. The genus is named after Lady Sarah Amherst, who collected plants in Asia in the early Nineteenth century. Not only is she commemorated in one of the most beautiful of the worlds trees, she also lends her name to Lady Amherst pheasant one of the most elegant birds. The new leaves are produced in flaccid pale tassels that turn purplish before they green and open out. When not in flower, Amherstia looks similar to Saracca, another Asian legume genus. The leaves unfurl in handkerchief fashion like the Brownea and Maniltoa. New leaf growth is reddish, hangs down at first.
Roasted nuts are free from the poison and as tasty as their relatives, cashew nuts.
Similar to the Anacardium occidentale, the Anacardium giganteum is a juicy, false fruit with a slight strawberry flavor. Nuts can be roasted and reportedly taste like cashew nuts.
This is a South American tree closely related to Yopo, or Anadenanthera peregrina, and has similar medicinal properties. Anadenanthera colubrina is known by many names throughout South America. In Peru it is known as Willka (also Wilca, Vilca and Huilca) which in the Quechua languages means "sacred". The species is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Cuba, and Mauritius.
The trunk is very thorny. The leaves are mimosa-like, and they fold up at night. It tends to grow on rocky hillsides in well-drained soil, often in the vicinity of rivers. It grows quickly at 5-6 ft a year in good conditions. The growing areas are often "savannah to dry rainforest." Flowering can begin in as soon as two years after germination. In Chile, A. colubrina produces flowers from September to December and bean pods from September to July.
A sweetened drink is made from the bark. The tree's bark is the most common part used medicinally. Gum from the tree is used medicinally to treat upper respiratory tract infections, as an expectorant and otherwise for cough.
The main active constituent of Vilca is bufotenin. The black beans from the bean pods of these trees are used to make the psychedelic snuff called Vilca (sometimes called cebil).
In Brazil A. colubrina has been given high priority conservation status.
This is a large tree with a horny bark, feathery leaves and pale yellow to white spherical flowers. It is an entheogen used in healing ceremonies and rituals. The beans (sometimes called seeds) and falling leaves are hallucinogenic and are toxic to cattle. This plant is almost identical to that of a related tree, Anadenanthera colubrina, commonly known as Cebíl or Vilca. The beans of A. colubrina have a similar chemical makeup as Anadenanthera peregrina, with their primary constituent being bufotenin.
The tree is also a well known source of dietary calcium.